OMB: Two-thirds of eligible restaurants, bars have not applied for state grants

THE R.I. DIVISION of Taxation says that as of Dec. 3, about 1,800 businesses had applied for funding from a $50 million grant program set up to help those affected by temporary early-closure orders.

PROVIDENCE – Just over a third of restaurants and bars eligible for grants intended to offset losses by state-imposed early closures have applied, according to R.I. Office of Management and Budget Director Jonathan Wolmer.

Wolmer shared an update on the grant program administered through the R.I. Division of Taxation at an R.I. House of Representatives Oversight Committee hearing on Thursday.

The grants announced by Gov. Gina M. Raimondo in early November offer eligible restaurants and bars with liquor licenses $2,000 to $10,000 to offset lost revenue from early closures.

Just over 600 applicants have received a collective $2.67 million – roughly a third of the 1,700 restaurants and bars the state estimates are eligible to benefit, Wolmer said. Noting that many grant programs tend to receive applications closer to the deadline, Wolmer expressed optimism that more restaurants and bars would apply as the Dec. 15 deadline approaches. 

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The program, which uses part of the $1.25 billion in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funds funneled to the state, benefits restaurants or bars hurt by the early closures enacted in November. Eligible applicants must be registered with the R.I. Division of Taxation, must maintain an active Meals and Beverage account with the division, maintain an active liquor license to consume alcohol on-site, have filed and paid sales tax and meals and beverage tax for the months of July, August and September of 2020 and have proof of impact.

The webpage can be found here.

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